Bound for the Promised Land
DESCRIPTION: "On Jordan's stormy banks I stand And cast a wishful eye To Canaan's fair and happy land Where my possessions lie. I am bound for the promised land...." The rest of the song describes the wonders of the promised land.
AUTHOR: Words: Samuel Stennett
EARLIEST DATE: 1787 (source: Morgan)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
BrownIII 581, "I Am Bound for the Promised Land" (1 text)
BrownSchinhanV 581, "I Am Bound for the Promised Land" (1 tune plus a text excerpt)
Randolph 624, "I'm Bound for the Promised Land" (1 short text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSUSA 99, "Bound for the Promised Land" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnett, p. 98, "I Am Bound for the Promised Land" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Robert J. Morgan, _Then Sings My Soul, Book 2: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories_, Nelson, 2004, pp. 52-53, "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" (1 text, 1 tune)
Charles Butts Sacred Harp Singers, "Promised Land" (OKeh 45252, 1928)
Harmon E. Helmick, "Bound for the Promised Land" (Champion 16744, 1934)
Alfred G. Karnes, "I Am Bound for the Promised Land" (Victor 20840, 1927)
Frank & James McCravy, "The Promised Land" (OKeh 40371, 1925)
Old Southern Sacred Singers, "I Am Bound for the Promised Land" (Brunswick 161, 1927; Supertone S-2096, 1930)
Singers from Stewart's Chapel, Houston, MS, "New Jordan" (on Fasola1)
Turkey Mountain Singers, "I Am Bound for the Promised Land" (Victor 20942, 1927)
Walker Brothers, "I'm Bound for the Promised Land" (Broadway 4121, c. 1932?)
Frank Welling & John McGhee, "I'm Bound for the Promised Land" (Perfect 12780, 1932)
cf. "Heavenly Port," "Jordan," "Jordan's Shore," "My Home," "New Jordan," "Sweet Prospect" (all share "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" verses)
The Promised Land
NOTES: Randolph describes his fragmemt ("I'm bound for the promised land, I'm bound for the promised land, Oh who will come an' go with me? I'm bound for the promised land") as a "jump-up song" which could be used as the chorus to several hymns. It is apparently used most often with "On Jordan's Stormy Banks."
The Sacred Harp lists no fewer than seven tunes ("Heavenly Port," "Jordan" [this not the same as the Missouri Harmony's "Jordan"], "Jordan's Shore," "My Home," "New Jordan," "Sweet Prospect," "The Promised Land") for Samuel Stennett's "On Jordan's Stormy Banks." The Missouri Harmony has it to the tune "Canaan."
One of those shape note tunes (according to the editors of Brown, quoting Jackson) is described as "practically identical with the old Scottish 'The Boatie Rows."" The lyrics do fit "The Boatie Rows," but to declare any of the Sacred Harp tunes the same as "The Boatie Rows" appears an extreme stretch to me.
According to William Reynolds, Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976, pp. 174, 376, the tune "Promised Land" was converted from minor to major to Rigdon M. McIntosh (a Methodist Episcopal musician, professor, and music publisher, 1836-1899), and this is now the Baptist tune for the piece.
According to Morgan, p. 53, Stennett's original title for his poem was "Heaven Anticipated."
John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), pp. 1091-1092, says that Stennett was "Grandson of Joseph Stennett [described as 'the earliest English Baptist hymn-writer whose hymns are now in [common use]"]... and s[on] of the Rev. Joseph Stennett, D.D., was b[orn], most probably in 1727, at Exeter, where his father was at that time a Baptist minister. When quite young he removed to London, his father having become pastor of the Baptist Church in Little Wild Streets, Lincoln's Inn Fields. In 1748, Samuel Stennett became assistant to his father in the ministery, and in 1758 succeeded him in the pastoral office at Little Wild Street. From that time until his death, on Aug. 24, 1795, he held a very prominent position among the Dissenting ministers of London. He was much respected by some of the statemen of the time, and used his influence with them in support of the principles of religions freedom.... In 1763 the University of Aberdeen conferred on him the degree of D.D...." He published sermons, pamphlets about the problems of Baptists in England, a few poems, "and contributed 38 hymns to the collection of his friend Dr. Rippon." Even Julian, who usually is generous with praise of hymnwriters, admitted "His poetical genius was not of the highest order," but lists 28 hymns from his pen. Based on their first lines, none of the others sound very interesting. - RBW
The Karnes recording is a hybrid; the words are "Bound for the Promised Land," but the tune is a direct lift from "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down." - PJS
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